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Portable Toilets

Portable Toilets for People with Mobility Challenges


According to Vanuatu’s 2009 Census, around 5 percent of the population have a mild, moderate or severe disability, meaning more than 14,000 people are at risk of being left behind.

A key objective of EWB’s Sanitation in Challenging Environments program in Vanuatu is to build the capacity of the local community to be empowered, self-sufficient, and able to sustainably implement and maintain their sanitation solutions. 


EWB Australia embedded a volunteer Field Professional within Live & Learn Environmental Education to support their local team to test a Portable Toilet. The Portable Toilet is a simple plywood box and bucket toilet designed with the purpose of supporting access to improved sanitation for people living with a disability.


This is the first stage in the project – 2019.


It was identified through Live and Learn Vanuatu Western Pacific Sanitation Innovation Marketing Program’s (WPSIMP) target communities that many people with mobility challenges have difficulty accessing an outdoor toilet. Many households only have a basic ‘bush’ toilet often 20m from the house. This makes it extremely challenging and hazardous for the users. Very little is available in the way of disability aids and there are currently no options for a disability access toilets in Vanuatu. 


Six case studies sought to improve the understanding of the application, use and any modifications required to a standard portable toilet – where the toilets were set up for people living with a range of disabilities. Findings were that 4 out of 6 toilets were set up and used, with one family making modifications to the house to accommodate the toilet.

All feedback from toilets in use has been positive. There has been no identified change in behaviour regarding toilet practices, but it has made using the toilet easier, both physically and psychologically. In two cases, no modifications or adjustments to the standard portable toilet were required.

In the other two cases, the toilets were modified to provide additional handrails and/or steps at the request of the user. Vanuatu Society for Disabled People (VSDP) assisted with two of the case studies, and they will be revisited